My newest podcast obsession is the show Pantsuit Politics. The hosts are two women who are friends from college; one is a Republican and one a Democrat. They refer to themselves on the show as Beth from the Right and Sarah from the Left, and the whole premise of the podcast is nuanced, respectful conversations on politics. I have learned so much from these ladies since I started listening, including a much better understanding of the stances of both major political parties.
Since the election of Donald Trump, their shows have been focused on where do we, as a country, go from here and come together. Even though one is a Republican both hosts were opposed to Trump and did not vote for him, but have tried hard to offer perspective to their listeners.
This week, Pantsuit Politics is hosting an online challenge: Exit the Echo Chamber. You can read the premise of the challenge here.
I am taking on this challenge in order to find some way to understand the perspectives of so many that I love, perspectives that right now I just don’t understand at all. I need to find away to redirect my anger to make a positive difference in my world.
I’m not expecting to change my position. I vehemently opposed to Trump and the rhetoric that got him elected. But I hope I will have a little more understanding and perhaps compassion at the end of the week. If nothing else, I’ll be a better listener.
Since I lean to the left, I chose to listen to 1 right leaning podcast and read 2 right-leaning articles. Yesterday, I listened to “Evangelicals and Women Who Voted for Trump Must Be Ready to Get to Work” from the podcast The Federalist Radio Hour. I also read “The Painfully Obvious Reason Christians Voted for Trump (that liberals just don’t understand)” from LifeSite News. I chose this one because it was posted in one of the Facebook groups I’m in and there was a long and intense thread of discussion about it. Thirdly, I read “What to Tell Your Children About Trump”. in the Wall Street Journal.
Honestly, this day was a lot harder than I expected to find compassion and empathy for the views professed in these sources. The podcast and the blog post both reiterated the two things I’ve seen over and over again from Christians as reasons for voting Trump: abortion and religious liberty. As I was already aware of these positions and am firm in my opposing positions, these really didn’t do much but further frustrate me. I just can’t say I learned anything new or gained any compassion by listening or reading. However, I do realize that most Christians who voted for Trump aren’t budging on these issues, so there’s no sense in constantly being angry about it. The third article by Peggy Noonan gave me a little more perspective on where our country is today and where we are headed. One of her points is America has survived a lot of hard times and the Trump presidency may not be either a wild success or a wild failure. America is strong and we should trust our country. While I’m skeptical, I do hope she’s right.
Today’s challenge is to have an in real life conversation with someone who voted differently than you. This will be happening tonight, although not with a Trump voter. Hopefully I can have one of those soon- I think it would be good for me to talk with someone face to face instead of behind the keyboard.
I’m definitely not in an echo chamber with the people I interact with personally or even online. I have just as many friends who I disagree with politically than who I do agree with. However, I do tend to read and listen to things that reinforce my own views, so this week has and will definitely challenge me.